Now in its 36th year, BJ Farm, 9777 Secor Rd., at the corner of Secor and Erie roads, in Temperance, Mich., has become a fall destination, especially for families.
“Each year, we add something new or a bit different,” said Michelle Schafer who works with her parents, Bairon and Janice Stader, who started the farm in 1986. “That first year, they started selling tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and cantaloupe. In the fall, when the U-Pick pumpkin patch was ready for harvest, they had pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash, and gourds. They were amazed when after only two weeks they were out of all of their fall produce.”
The next year the Staders didn’t plant any summer crops, leaving room for all of their fall produce, which proved to be a successful decision.
“While we have expanded every season, we are not so big that our customers feel overwhelmed or too crowded. Yet, we are large enough to offer plenty of choices so people can have some good family fun,” Schafer stated.
One of those fun events is the four-acre Walk-Through Search and Find Corn Maze with its 76 hidden items for families to find and cross off their lists. A small prize will be given to those who find the additional mystery item. The cost is $5 for those who are 6 years and older and $3 for children ages 3 to 5. “If families cannot find the items and finish the maze at one visit, they can come back as often as they wish and re-enter for free. This is ideal for those with younger children,” Schafer said.
The U-Pick Pumpkin Patch will be open each weekend through October. The $10 per person fee includes a fresh donut, a hay ride through the drive-through corn maze to the U-Pick Pumpkin Patch where each person finds his or her potential jack-o-lantern. Private, scheduled hay rides are also available during the week with an eight-person minimum – call for a group rate. “U-Pick is also a great venue for churches, scouts, school group outings, birthday parties, baby reveals, showers and so much more. We make hosting events easy for you,” Schafer promised.
About eight years ago, Schafer began making and offering fresh donuts, along with Hy’s Cider Mill fresh apple cider, pressed weekly, and fresh apple cider slushies. “Those have become a big hit. Everyone just loves them! Any amount of donuts can also be special ordered at any time of the year. We have done weddings, Halloween parties, office parties, meetings, and more featuring donuts and cider for any occasion,” she noted.
When the owners expanded the farm a few years ago, several new areas of interest were added. Those include a barn, a family game center featuring Corn Hole, an oversized Connect Four, XL Jenga, and more along with a separate fenced playground area complete with a large boat play structure and a tube slide. Entrance to the game center is free while there is a nominal charge of $1.50 to enter the playground.
“Shoppers can also find a large selection of truly hardy mums that are available in multiple colors and sizes along with a huge selection of pink, orange, white, green, grey, stripped, and more specialty pumpkins that are wonderful for decorating. We also have over 10 varieties of winter squash from which to choose along with Indian corn, straw bales, corn stalks, and more to add to your fall decor. I am always happy to help with decorating ideas, too,” Schafer offered. “And don’t worry there are plenty of pre-picked carving pumpkins to choose from as well.”